Year in Review: Email campaigns by the numbers

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By Ashley Lisenby

Digital Editor

The Journal and its sister publications, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, made a shift in digital outreach efforts halfway through 2014.

A handful of meetings and chain emails later, each paper switched email marketing service providers — from Constant Contact to MailChimp. As we at the Journal look back at 2014, it seems appropriate to reflect on our outreach efforts as well.

Since the crossover this summer, the Journal has gained just over 5,400 email subscribers to its news, shopping and dining and sports email lists according to MailChimp analytics released Dec. 19 (thank you, readers!).

One of the Journal's most opened and most clicked-through emails since joining the MailChimp community was about the 86 phone calls made to police from the home of Sheila Von Weiss-Mack. The story is also one of's most viewed stories this year.

One of our least successful campaigns was about the Oak Park and River Forest High School football team's loss to Glenbard West back in October. The Journal lost seven subscribers with that one and it received a 28.1 percent open rate.

On average this year, however, the Journal's email campaigns were opened about 33 percent of the time, nearly double the "industry average" open rate according to MailChimp analytics. The average click rate for email campaigns was quadruple the industry average as well, estimated to be 3.4 percent, at 13.1 percent.

While the Journal is pleased in many ways with those numbers, digital, marketing and circulation staffers at the paper are interested in improving email campaign efforts. That's where the readers come in. We need your help. We want to know what you like and dislike; what works for you.

Therefore, we've set up a survey (see below) that will remain open from Jan. 1 through Jan. 31. Your responses will help us determine how to better interact with you. Thank you for your readership and Happy New Year.

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